31 July 2010
28 July 2010
2 tbs chocolate chips
2 tbs of milk
Sift flour, baking powder and salt two times.
Whisk eggs and cream of tartar till light and fluffy.
Gradually add vanilla extract and sugar and continue beating till batter is glossy.
Combine butter and milk, and heat till just before it boils.
With a balloon whisk, gently fold in flour, alternating with milk mixture.
For marbled cupcakes, melt choc chips with milk and blend well. Scoop out half the batter and combine with choc mixture.
Fill paper cups, alternating spoonfuls of each batter. Then run the end of a chopstick through the batter to create swirls.
Bake at 170 degC for 18-20 min or until done.
This recipe can be used as a sponge cake recipe too. Just bake for about 5 or more minutes till done.
26 July 2010
What a wonderful way to start the week!
With sweet peaches and tangy yoghurt, all Monday blues are forgotten with a bite of this butter cake.
150g yoghurt (plain or fruit)
sliced peaches (optional)
7 - Remove and cool in pan for 5-10 min before unmoulding.
24 July 2010
Sounds sophiscated ... It is in fact a focaccia with grapes, where the fillings are traditionally made from raisins, or the last season's grapes while the new season's grapes are used to adorn the top. Tasty and flavourful, and it is a great conversational piece for home parties or gatherings.
Making this bread needs advance planning and an awful lot of time. The recipe uses a starter, which takes a portion of the yeast and flour to ferment between a few hours up to a few days. Using a starter usually results in a bread with an open, airy texture and is richer in flavour. I did an experiment once to test the effect of a starter and there is a huge difference in the flavour!
For the starter
0.5 tsp dried yeast (I used instant yeast)
125g strong white flour
For the dough
1.5 tsp dried yeast
375g strong white flour
1.5 tsp salt
3 tbsp caster sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
For the filling and topping
A glass of Vin Santo (or another sweet dessert wine)
500g seedless black grapes
3 tbsp demerara sugar (natural brown sugar)
To make the starter: Sprinkle the yeast into water. Leave for 5 min. Add flour and mix to form a thick batter. Cover with tea towel and let it ferment for at least 12 hours and up to 36 hours, until it forms a loose bubbling batter.
To make the dough: Sprinkle the yeast into 100ml of water. Leave for 5 min. Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour. Pour in the yeasted water, caster sugar, olive oil and the starter. Stir in remaining water to form a soft sticky dough. Knead by hand or a heavy duty mixer until smooth, silky and elastic. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to rise until double in size, about 2 hours. Knock back and chafe for 5 minutes, then leave to rest, about 10 minutes. Divide the dough into two equal sized pieces. Roll out both pieces.
To make the filling and finally the completed bread: Marinate the raisins in the wine for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain them thoroughly. Spread the raisins evenly over one piece of dough. Put the second piece on top and pinch the edges together. Cover with a tea towel and prove until double in size. Cover the top dough evenly with the grapes, lightly pressing them into the dough, and sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake in pre heat oven for 45 minutes until the crust is golden and the grapes slightly brown.
(Recipe from Bread, baking by hand or bread machine, by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno.)
Perfect for a banana cake muffin! So called because the recipe is actually for a banana sponge cake, but since I don't have a small 6" pan, I used my muffn pan instead. And what I ended up with was soft fluffy banana muffins.
This recipe is so simple, all it takes is a few utensils (aka less washing up) and 10 minutes to put everything together. 30 minutes later, sink your teeth into your bake!
the wet stuff:
1 tbs condensed milk (or maple syrup)
1 tbs milk (or cream / yoghurt / sour cream)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
the dry stuff:
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - Beat egg and sugar till light and creamy. (I just used a balloon whisk, but you can use a mixer if you're in the mood for more washing.)
2 - Add the rest of the wet stuff and mix well.
3 - Combine dry stuff and sift into wet stuff. Fold gently with balloon whisk till just moistened.
I made a batch of almond biscotti some time ago, and it turned out a disaster! I must have overbaked it and sliced it so thick, biting into it was like trying to eat a rock. But I didn't want to waste it all, so i kept it in the fridge, thinking that one day I'd figure out how to 'recycle' it.
And, today, the opportunity presented itself. I could make it into cheesecake crust! Just blitz the biscotti in the food processor till they resemble fine crumbs, and use it like crushed Digestive biscuits for the crust. For an extra edge, I added about 2 tsp of cocoa powder to get a chocolate almond crust. I thought this would be a nice complement to the chocolate topping I had in mind for the cake.
Mix everything together. Then press into your baking pan. (I used a 9" springform pan.) Chill in refrigerator while you make the filling.
750g cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1.5 tbs cornflour
1 tbsp Cointreau (or 1.5 tsp vanilla extract)
1 - Beat all ingredients except eggs till smooth and creamy.
20 July 2010
Who loves pies?
There's just something about homemade pies that warms my soul, especially on a cool rainy day like today. I have fond memories of my trips to Australia, where some of the world's best pies are served in a dizzying array of flavours!
My own homemade pie is, of course, nowhere near that standard. But we all start somewhere, so here's my shot at a beef pie...
Unlike baking, my cooking is almost never to recipe. You can vary the ingredients according to your tastes, and you can add anything you like or omit the stuff you don't like. So, here goes:
* Meat of your choice, minced or cubed (you can use beef, chicken, pork, lamb, or even ham)
* Vegetables (e.g. peas, carrots, corn, celery, mushrooms, potatoes, etc)
* Onions, chopped
* Liquid (e.g. tomato puree/paste, milk, or canned soup)
* Herbs (e.g. basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano, curry, whatever you fancy!)
* Salt & pepper to taste
1 - Fry onions till soft, then add meat and cook till almost done.
2 - Add vegetables and cook.
3 - When almost done, add liquid and herbs of choice and cook till it boils. If the mixture is too thin, simmer till it thickens, or add some slurry or instant mashed potatoes.
4 - When done to your liking, set aside while you prepare the crust.
* 120g butter, very cold
* 260g flour
* 80ml cold water
* 1/2 tsp salt
Makes about 4 small pie crusts.
If you are serving the pies in ramekins, you can also omit the base and just have the crust on top. In this case, halve the recipe.
1 - Cut or rub the butter into the flour and salt until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.
Bake at 200 degC for about 20-30 min, depending on the size of your pie. Since the filling is already cooked, your pie is done when the tops are nicely browned.
* Place the butter in the freezer for about 10 min, then grate it over the flour. The flour will coat the small bits of butter and with a quick stir you'll instantly get that bread-crumb texture. Sure beats using all that effort to cut the butter with a fork or pastry blender! It also avoids melting the butter with your warm fingers with the rubbing-in method.
* Alternatively, just blitz the flour and butter in a food processor, then drizzle cold water until the dough comes together.
19 July 2010
Here’s how I spent the most part of my Saturday…
Making the sponge cake:
5 egg whites
½ tsp cream of tartar
5 egg yolks
60 ml water (I replaced 10ml with liquor for that extra punch)
1½ tsp vanilla extract
110g cake flour
½ tsp baking powder
Note: I chose to make the batter in 2 separate batches (2 eggs then 3 eggs), but you can make the cake in 1 batch and slice it in half lengthwise.
Pour into a greased 8” baking tin, preferably with the bottom lined with parchment paper.
When done, remove from baking tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Making the whipped cream:
* 400ml whipping cream, very chilled
* 2 tbs icing sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 – Place your metal mixing bowl and beaters into the freezer for at least half hour.
2 – Combine all ingredients and beat till creamy and stiff. Do not overbeat or the mixture will separate into butter and milk.
Preparing the peaches:
For convenience, I used sliced peaches from the can. Drain the excess syrup first.
Chop up several slices to smaller bits. These are for the cream layer between the 2 sponge cakes.
Putting it all together:
1 – Place a small amount of cream on the cake board, then position the first cake layer in the centre of the board. The cream will act as a glue and hold the cake in place.
2 – Slather on as much cream as you like on top of the first layer. Then sprinkle the peach bits over the cream. Top with more cream if desired.
3 – Place the 2nd sponge layer on top.
4 – Spread cream on top and around the sides of the cake.
5 – Sprinkle ground peanuts (or any nut of your choice) all over and remove excess.
6 – Using your creativity, decorate with peach slices or any fruit of your choice.
7 – Place in cake box and store in the fridge till ready to serve.